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tv   The Eighties  CNN  September 2, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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china earlier this spring levied economic coercion against south korea to try to get them to stop -- to withdraw the thaad missile defense system. that coercion is still ongoing. sale also of south korean calls are falling in china, and the united states has not been there for south korea. we have not insulated them from that kind of economic coercion. so all of these signals really paint a negative picture for our allies in the region. we're going to need them no matter what we do, in deterrence, in defense, in any kind of pressure. they're critical allies. >> adam mount joining us from washington. adam's with the center for american progress. we appreciate it. thank you. stand by. please stay with us. we have a lot more to discuss. >> this is cnn, breaking news. >> hello, everyone. i'm isha sesay. you are watching "cnn newsroom"
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live from los angeles. we start this hour with breaking news out of north korea. japan says pyongyang has conducted another nuclear test. the u.s. and south korea haven't confirmed that yet but both say they've detected seismic activity. the u.s. geological survey says it was a 6.3 magnitude explosion, and south korean officials say that tremor was manmade. north korea now say they will have a major announcement at 2:30 eastern time. that is in about half an hour from now. reports of the blast come less than a day after pyongyang said it had a new hydrogen bomb. these images you're looking at purport to know noernt leader kim jong-un inspecting the device. state media claim it can be loaded on to an intercontinental ballistic missile. let's bring in will ripley, joining us from tokyo. will, we get this word from north korean state tv that there will be a major announcement a short time from now. the expectation is that they will confirm that there was a nuclear test.
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>> reporter: that's right. and having just woken up yesterday in pyongyang, north korea, arrived back here in tokyo last night, the timing of this is not necessarily a surprise given the fact that north korea has been talking about their nuclear program all week. they had just put out a statement within the last 12 hours or so, those new photos of north korea's supreme leader kim jong-un standing over what they claim is a miniaturized h-bomb, a nuclear war head they can put on an intercontinental ballistic missile. north korea has been saying, both in conversations with government officials in north korea and also via their state media, that they think it is time for the united states to recognize them as a nuclear power, as a nuclear weapon state, something that north korea has sought for quite a long time. they believe that the u.s. has a hostile policy against their country and they continue to develop these weapons of mass destruction in die phi answer of round after round of international sanctions. it was reiterated to me
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repeatedly on the ground all last week that north korea refuses to back down. they won't back down after fiery rhetoric from the u.s. president donald trump. they won't back down after that flyover of american and south korean bombers and fighter jets over the korean peninsula in the past couple of days. in fact, they say those types of actions will only accelerate their weapons development. what is interesting is they're going to be announcing this nuclear test so soon, and this is on a sunday, the only day off for north koreans. they waited 24 hours before announcing the launch of the hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile which flew over northern hokkaido here in japan last week. this time around they apparently put together an announcement very quickly, within the next 30 minutes we expect to see the face of north korean state tv, most likely the news anchor we see often announce these major developments, her face will appear on large screens in different parts of pyongyang in north korea and of course will be beamed into people's homes.
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people are being told to prepare for this major announcement coming up, and so if we were still in north korea we would see what we saw just a few days ago when we were there for the announcement of the missile launch. students, grandparents, parents all gathered around televisions watching and likely cheering to the news that north korea has conducted this apparent sixth successful nuclear test, just one year after their fifth nuclear test. also note worthy, isha, last year the earthquake created by the north korean nuclear test was 5.3 magnitude, this year believed to be a 6.3 magnitude. so a significantly more powerful explosion. sniffer planes have been sent from japan. according to cnn's barbara starr she says this quake was detected at least 30 global seismic monitoring locations in different locations around the world. so a major explosion, a major
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event. when north korea makes the announcement, they will mark this as another historic milestone for their country, even as the rest of the world views it as a highly dangerous provocation. >> will, i do have andrew stevens standing by. before i go to him i want to ask you one question because i want to pick up on what you said. you made the point about north korea announcing that they would be putting out some kind of statement a short time from now, within the next 30 minutes, and this is happening faster or sooner than on past occasions. why would that be? how should we read that? >> well, it signifies what a major event this is for the north koreans. look, they have had time to plan for this nuclear test. we were saying last week that, remember, south korean lawmakers got a briefing from the national intelligence service early last week, i believe it was on monday, monday or tuesday, the nis in south korean briefed lawmakers and told them they
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detected new activity at the punggye-ri nuclear test site. the only way we know that is by satellite imagery looked at by military analysts around the world. this is in a renote mountainous area near the border with china. satellites observed activity at these deep underground tunnels they use when they conduct these nuclear tests. they put thus war heads deep underground and that's why they create these earthquakes. in fact, there's been concern that these tests are becoming so powerful that mountain pektu, the highest point in north korea which is still an active volcano and sacred site for north koreans, some sigh meismologiste been concerned that it could rumble up volcanic activity there. it could be felt in a number of places, not just north korea. i'm sure we will hear reports in coming hours where else residents felt the ground shake
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sunday afternoon local time. north korean officials have been ready to conduct a new test back in april. it was back in april when the united states and south korean was saying that the nuclear test was imminent. for many months officials have been saying that that test could really happen at any time with very little notice, and now apparently we have seen it. perhaps north korea has already prepared the message, prepared this triumphant announcement that they will be making to their people in the coming minutes, and a very triumphant moment for north korea. they will give all of the praise to their leader kim jong-un. they will say it is taking their country one step closer to a better future even as much of the rest of the world thinks this is putting the north koreans in a more isolated and more difficult position economically. >> the jubilation expected in pyongyang and north korea is in stark contrast to the reaction across the world. thank you. stand by for us.
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let's go to andrew stevens in china. andrew, the japanese government saying this was a nuclear test. of course, still waiting for confirmation from the united states, but i want to ask you from where you are what you are learning, whether there's been any official word from beijing? >> reporter: no official word yet from beijing in the form of reaction, isha, which is not surprising given it is a sunday. but having said that, the president, the chinese president xi jinping will be making a statement where i am here. it is the opening of the summit of the brix country, brazil, china, india and south africa and the president will be welcoming this. just for timing of this, it is a big event for china coming just ahead of a big party conference next month, and china's government is putting their best foot forward showing they're a power on the world stage. to have this sort of event
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overshadow that is not going to impress the chinese leadership, but there's been a growing rift, if you like, between china and north korea. the north koreans were told very, very clearly just about a month ago by china not to add any other provocation on the -- to the global community, to the international community in the wake of those earlier icbm launches back in july after the sanctions were placed on north korea by the united states china made it clear that no more provocation would be tolerated by the chinese. that has obviously fallen on deaf ears. we've had two major events in the last few days. china, as i say, has not yet made an official statement. china's equation here is what do they do, isha. do they increase the economic pressure on north korea? they certainly can do that. 90% of north korea's international trade goes through china. china supplies most of north
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korea's oil and a lot of its food, so it does have that power, but it's always been the case and china has also reiterated the only way to solve this is through dialogue. in that they have been backed to the hilt by russia. the russian president verplank is also here. the two leaders are expected to hold a bilateral on monday. obviously this will be the headline for those negotiations, those discussions, but really, iron ya, it is unlikely to see china move away from this repeated line, that the deescalation has to happen. the u.s. and south korea have to stop, suspend their joint large-scale military exercises. in return north korea has to suspend its ballistic missile program and its nuclear program, and then talks can begin. just as we've seen in the last few hours, obviously they are a long way from the north korean leader's mind. >> yeah. andrew, obviously when it comes to north korea there's so many interrelated pieces.
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we know all eyes are on china and on them, you know, using their leverage over north korea which to date has been somewhat limited. we know that president trump has looked to outsource the north korea problem to china and recently started to express his displeasure with the way china had approached this issue to date. do we anticipate that we're about to see another phase of, shall we say, souring of u.s./china relations? >> reporter: i think it is quite possible, isha, that china will not take any further action than it already has. i mean it is abiding by these latest round of tough united nations sanctions which were imposed about a month ago. but as far as the north korea problem is concerned, china and the u.s. are coming at this d
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diametrica diametrically opposed positions. china sees north korea reacting in self-preservation, to survival from what they perceive as an aggressive, hostile u.s. which is interested in regime change. the u.s. sees north korea's actions in terms of it is a rogue state completely ignoring international convention and developing illegally a nuclear weapons program together with an international -- with an icbm ballistic missile program which will threaten the united states. china is unlikely to move away from that position. one interesting development here is that the u.s. is talking about upping its military assets in this part of the world in response to what north korea is doing. the last thing china wants to see are more u.s. aircraft carriers, more u.s. military assets around this region because they already feel the u.s. may be trying to contain china's expansion.
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but if china does nothing and the u.s. sees this as a signal that they have to take more aggressive action, that is going to put china and russia -- excuse me, china and the u.s. on more of a collision course, and china doesn't want to see more u.s. military assets in this part of the world. so there is that calculation as well. but, i mean, we will hear from xi jinping in a few hours time. i suspect it will be a reiteration of what he said, what the russians and the chinese said about a deescalation and bringing these -- the u.s. and north korea back to the negotiating table is the only way forward, isha. >> as we say, so many interrelated pieces. andrew, stay with me. i want to share this with our viewers, the fact that china's earthquake administration has said that it detected two earthquakes in north korea. we have been telling you, of course, about that large explosion, that seismic activity that the usgs picked up on
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alongside officials in south korea. well, according to china's earthquake administration they detected two earthquakes. let me read you part of the statement. they're saying that the first earthquake was a suspected explosion. it occurred around 11:30 a.m. beijing time and it was a 6.3 magnitude quake, measuring at a depth of zero kilometers. the statement goes on to give the epicenter of being about 70 kilometers away from a city, about 390 kilometers away from pyongyang many then there was a second statement and this said there was a second earthquake of 4.6 magnitude with a depth, again, they say of zero meters, occurring at 11:38 beijing time. now, for this second earthquake, the china earthquake administration didn't mention the exact province or city, but just referred to it as a
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collapse. so we have had, i believe it was our ian lee saying that that could be referring to a collapse within a tunnel within the nuclear test site. of course, that has not been confirmed. i want to bring in mike chinoy who joins us on the line from hong kong to get his reaction. mike, if you can hear me, what do you make of this, this statement by the earthquake administration of china, detecting two earthquakes, calling the first one a suspected explosion and the second one a collapse? >> reporter: well, that does seem to be the case, that there were two separate tremors that were felt. the collapse would obviously have been caused by the power of the first explosion, although i think there is a question as to whether that was unintentional and simply an unanticipated consequence of a huge
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underground blast. so whether the north koreans did it deliberately. but one of the possible consequences is that there may be an escape into the atmosphere of some radioactive material, and depending on how much that is and where it goes, one consequence will be that it will make it easier for the japanese and the american planes with sensors flying overhead to gather information about the nature and scale of this blast, but also it does raise the possibility of at least some radioactive elements in the atmosphere being blown from north korea either towards china or russia, which will not make the chinese or russians happy. i think what andrew steevens being unhappy with the timing of this is very important. the chinese had been pressing north korea very hard not to stage a nuclear test. for the north koreans to
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deliberately choose a few hours before a very important summit meeting in which xi jinping is hosting the leaders from india and brazil and south africa -- this is a big, big deal for the chinese. this is a deliberate poke in the eye from north korea. it is a deliberate gesture of non- respect. but i think what it shows is that kim jong-un is extremely confident that he can provoke and push across the board without risking the kind of sweeping retaliation that would inflict enough pain on him and his system to force him to change his path. >> as you make the point of kim jong-un taking this step at a time when xi jinping has these hi profile guests in his country, that suggests -- i don't want to say tensions in the relationship between china and pyongyang, but certainly
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that all is not well. is that what we had known previously or are we just surmising it from this apparent nuclear test? >> well, the relationship between china and north korean has been an uneasy one for a very -- a very long time. the fact that the two countries were on the same side in the korean war and the fact that china has been reluctant to pressure north korea doesn't mean that either side likes or respects the other. from the 17 visits i have made to north korea over many, many years, it was very evident the north koreans hate the chinese. they bitterly -- excuse me. they bitterly resent the idea that they should be this sort of well-behaved younger brother doing china's bidding, listening to china tell them, you should do this, you shouldn't do that. in fact, interestingly, over many years during the sort of unhappy and ultimately unsuccessful attempt by north korea to forge some kind of
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relationship with the united states, north korea officials were explicit in indicating to american interlocutors was one motive for them to try to have a better relationship with the u.s. is to give it leverage against its giant neighbors to the north. for their part the chinese don't like the north korean system. they think the north koreans should adopt chinese style economic reforms and they're irritated that the north is not listening to them. on the other hand, what the chinese fear most is collapse leading to war, and so they're not prepared to impose sanctions to bring the pyongyang regime to its knees because they fear rather than changing its policy it would lead to disarray or turmoil inside north korea. but the fact of the matter is relations between the two sides are bad.
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kim jong-un has not visited china. xi jinping has not visited north korea. so i think that tension is there. the question is whether this nuclear blast will force the chinese to take more tough measures than they would otherwise be inclined to do. my instinct is it probably won't, but we'll have to wait and see. >> mike, before i let you go i want to quickly ask you about this announcement that we're standing by for on korean state tv in about ten minutes from now. what are your expectations as to how this apparent nuclear test will be framed, how the message will be delivered to the people of north korea? >> reporter: the message i think will be delivered as one of yet another great triumph for the leadership of kim jong-un, that it is going to send the message to the north korean people to
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further consolidate his public support. at the same time, the message for north korean's adversaries and for the region is we're going to do this and there's nothing can you do to stop us, and if you even think about trying military action to stop us we now have a bigger and more powerful nuclear arsenal and we're prepared to use it if you take those steps. >> mike chinoy joining us on the phone from hong kong with great analysis. do stay with us. i want to go to cnn military analyst, retired lt. col. rick francona. rick, thank you for staying with us these many hours. i want to go back to that statement put out by china's earthquake administration in which they said they saw -- they sensed and detected rather two explosions, calling the first one a suspected explosion and the second one a collapse.
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the assumption or people working on the idea that that collapse could have been a tunnel collapse within the nuclear test site, and that could mean we're looking at radiation released to the atmosphere. talk to me about the risk cans we're talking about here, that we're looking at, and just a response to that. >> well, these tests are conducted, you know, very far underground. so the chance of a radiation leak, a large radiation leak is very minimal. but if you have a tunnel collapse, that may or may not lead to some sort of release. as we've been told, there are aircraft detecting any kind of radiation in the air. all those these tests are conducted underground, radiation does get out and it is -- we are able to determine a lot of information from the air samples that we take. so we'll be doing that. as far as the actual collapses,
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you know, think it would be too difficult to read anything into that just yet. >> okay. the timing of all of this, we know obviously the u.s. and south korea, you know, had these military drills a couple of days ago. but our own andrew stevens who is in china made that great point that china, xi jinping is having this high-level summit with the president of russia being present along with the president of south africa, and it raises questions now about the relationship between north korea and china. i mean what are your thoughts on that? because if that relationship is fractured, if it is uneasy as the timing of this testing suggests, that makes president trump's strategy of relying on china that much more precarious. >> yeah, and, you know, the timing i think is being driven
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in kim jong-un's mind by his need to react to what the united states is doing. i think he's willing to put his somewhat fragile and not great relationship with the chinese at risk to meet his own -- what he believes are his own perceived goals as standing up to the united states. i think the main focus of his timing right now is president trump and the americans. >> for president trump as he looks to respond to this -- i mean this is -- this is a major test for this -- this president. i mean it will certainly measure up as one of the biggest he has faced in his short time in office, because here we have north korea blatantly crossing multiple red lines and escalating the crisis there in the region. this is a major moment in terms of how this president respond. the whole world will be watching. >> i would call this the sum of
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all fears. you know, what we've been looking at over the past several months, over the past years are these two -- these two technologies that the north koreans are developing, one is the war head and the other is the delivery system, the intercontinental ballistic missile. now we find they actually have both. if what they're saying today is true, then we are no longer in this position of being able to wait until their technology gets there. we kicked the can down the road saying, well, they're not there yet, their technology is not there yet, they don't have the threat yet. well, they have the threat and the technology will soon be there where they can actually deliver a weapon to the united states. so the president has to weigh all of that in his response. >> lt. col. francona, to link the two developments over the last couple of hours, of course north korea saying they had mastered hydrogen bomb technology and then we get this word of this apparent nuclear
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test. should we automatically assume that the bomb that was tested, the nuclear bomb that was tested was a hydrogen device? >> well, that would be where they would be going. they've claimed that capability in the past. a 6.3 blast on a richter scale is a huge explosion, so it could very well have been a hydrogen bomb. a hydrogen bomb is much, much more -- has much more explosive potential than a fissile bomb. so i guess the koreans in a few minutes are going to tell us what it was, and i'm antnot sure should doubt them. everything they've said they're going to do they've pretty much done. >> yeah. to that point they did say they would fire missiles at guam. you talk about north korea, you know, professing threats and, you know, making statements and following up on them. now everyone will turn back to that threat and say is that
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something that is actually going to happen? >> i don't think so. if you actually read the statements that were made, it was the strategic rocket force commander giving a plan to his commander in chief, saying that i presented him with a military option. it is up to him if he wants to do something with it, much like the pentagon preparing a military option for the president. he can choose to execute that plan or not. kim jong-un responded by saying, i'm not going to do that, kind of taking the high road, if you will. but it was a threat, but it wasn't from him -- the leader himself. >> all right. lt. col. francona, we appreciate it. please stay with us. i want to go to seoul, south korea. our ian lee is there and has been with us for the past couple of hours. ian, reset for us, for our viewers as we put it all in perspective for them, this explosion that happened in the
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northeastern part of north korea, confirmed by the japanese as being a nuclear test. what are you hearing now? >> reporter: yeah, that happened at 12:30 local time here when they detected that 6.3 magnitude earthquake. now we're hearing that the national security council here in seoul, they convened an emergency meeting. that meeting is now over. we're waiting to hear what they have to say. we also know that south korea's military is on a heightened state of alert. there's also extra surveillance taking place over north korea, but right now the big thing we're watching is north korean state media at the bottom of the hour. so in a couple of minutes, isha, we're waiting for an announcement to be made, an announcement likely to discuss what took place in that northeastern part of north korea where we believe a nuclear test has taken place. once that announcement is made, then we're likely to hear from
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officials here in south korea, japan, the united states on what they're going to do to move forward. up till now it's all been about diplomatic and economic pressure on north korea to try to pressure them to give up their nuclear program, but that has seemed to have a reverse effect with north korea saying that this pressure is only galvanizing them to continue to develop that nuclear program. so really we'll see if the united states and their allies continue that trajectory and really what their reaction is. also, once this statement comes out in about a minute now we'll likely hear from china as well, what their reaction is to this, plumab presumably a nuclear test in north korea. >> yeah, the whole world will be watching to see what north korea says to that. let us put up pictures from north korean state tv where that statement will be made in under
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a minute. let's bring it up on our screens. that is what they're seeing right now on state-run television there in north korea. we were told some 40 minutes ago that a major announcement would be made. the expectation is this will be the confirmation of that nuclear test that has already been confirmed by japan. we must say the u.s. and south korea have not confirmed it as yet. so we are standing by, and there we have it. we're going to monitor what is being said there in pyongyang. of course, we'll bring our viewers all of the details of the statement. so we want everyone to stay with us for that. ian, let's keep our conversation going while we keep these pictures up on our screens. you know, i just want to put this again in context for our viewers who may just be joining us, who may just be seeing this headline that north korea has launched a nuclear attack.
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just explain to our viewers how significant this moment is. i mean this measured 6.3 according to the usgs. the last nuclear test that north korea did last year measured only 5.3. >> reporter: yeah, and that's a magnitude of 10 times when you go from 5.3 to 6.3. it isn't just one up the scale, it is a ten times scale. so from what we're hearing from the south korean meteorological agency, is saying that that's a ten times more powerful earthquake than it was last year. so you can translate that to saying that explosion was ten times more powerful, although we'll have to wait to hear from the experts if that in fact is the case. but it is a very worrying development that they are continuing to make more powerful nuclear weapons. but, you know, the one interesting thing too we heard from the north koreans earlier today was the fact that their
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nuclear program is now homemade. they don't need to go outside their borders to get any materials to make their nuclear weapons. they also said they can make as many as they like. so that for officials in the region is also very worrying. you also had that other announcement. really, you know, two big announcements today, isha. the one where they -- you know, the previous, they said that they could miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an intercontinental ballistic missile. that is something that experts up until recently thought were maybe months or years away. you know, really it is one thing to develop a nuclear weapon. it is another to deliver it. we know that north korea has the capabilities of firing a missile that can strike anywhere in this region and the united states. so that really changes the situation on the ground, the fact that they can put that nuclear weapon on an icbm, but then you also have what appears to be one of the largest nuclear tests to date.
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so you combine those two and it is very worrying for officials here in seoul who just had that emergency meeting of the national security council. again, waiting to hear what they have to say as well, but also keeping eyes on north korean state media which will likely tell us what took place in that northeastern part of the country. so, you know, very worried but keeping an eye on the situation as it develops, isha. >> yeah, ian, stay with me. i want to remind our viewers if they're viewing in and looking at our screens. what you are looking at is obviously our ian lee in seoul, south korea. to the right of our screen you're looking at korean central television as we take that picture full. the reason we have it up on our screens for you is because we are awaiting the major announcement that we were given word of some 43 minutes ago, something like that. in light of these reports of the nuclear tests conducted by north
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korea, it emerged there was going to be a major announcement on korean state television. we are awaiting that announcement. that is why you can see that picture on your screens. will ripley, who has been to north korea 14 times, he has just returned from north korea, just made his way back to tokyo, he is monitoring these pictures for us. the moment we get that announcement, the moment we get details of what the regime did in that northeastern part of north korea we will bring it to you. in the meantime, i'm going to continue the conversation with ian lee. ian, to bring you back in, as we made the point, 6.3 magnitude explosion, massive, bigger than anything we've seen before from north korea when it comes to these nuclear tests. extremely worrying for countries like japan and south korea and china, these countries in the region all will be looking at this development and figuring
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out how they respond. >> reporter: that's right. you know, we're looking at that. it looks like that statement is actually being made right now. we have people who are listening to it, can translate it to us, will get it to us quickly. this is a very worrying situation for many people in the region. from different aspects. you have the south koreans and the japanese, the americans who see this as a viable threat that north korea continues to develop its nuclear program. you know, china is watching this also very concerned because north korea is -- for north korea china is their major ally -- or china is right now having a summit of the brix, which is a large international gathering. this happens right as that conference is about to get underway, so china will likely come out with some statement that likely could be embarrassing for china that this coincides with that.
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but, really, for the different intelligence groups and communities right now, they're just trying to figure out the details of this explosion. they have airplanes in the air gathering dust, gathering anything they can that was blown down wind, that they can determine what that exactly was, the size, what it was made of, and to get a better idea of that. but also you have officials talking about their different branches of their military. you have here in south korea a heightened state of alert. this really caps off a tense week. it started on tuesday when north korea had that missile test which flew over japan. right afterwards south korea had a military exercise which demonstrated how they could go after the north korean leadership in the event of a war. that was followed up by another kpr exercise that had military from guam, japan, south korea. you had b-1 bombers, stealth
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fighters over a course of ten hours demonstrating their advanced technologies and unique ways of waging war. during all of that north korea condemned those but they kind of brushed it off, those tests. now you have this today, these latest developments. >> we do. ian lee, we appreciate it. thank you. please stay with us because i want to go to will ripley immediately, who is joining us from tokyo. will, i know you were monitoring that announcement on korean state television. tell us what was said. >> reporter: so they have confirmed, isha, their sixth underground nuclear test since 2006, the fourth nuclear test under the current supreme leader kim jong-un. the announcement began talking about a pilot bureau meeting. these are some of the highest level officials within the north korean government. of course the leader kim jong-un heads the pilot bureau and he had a meeting analyzing the
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military situation on the korean peninsula, and along with top advisers decided to order his scientists to go ahead with the nuclear test. north korea confirming it was at the punggye-ri site, that 6.3 magnitude earthquake that was detected, also a second earthquake 4.6 that was detected about eight minutes later. north korea saying that the nuclear test went off flawlessly. they said specifically radiation has not been released into the environment. there is concern about that because of the fact there was a secondary seismic event, leading some analysts to wonder if there was some sort of a tunnel collapse at the punggye-ri nuclear test site, because what north korea does is deton ate the weapons very deep underground and the explosion is so massive these earthquakes are felt all over the world by dozens of seismic monitoring stations around the world, detected this event during the afternoon hours of sunday in
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north korea. north korea also saying that this weapon that they tested is specifically to perfect the kind of miniaturized war head that they would place in an intercontinental ballistic missile, the kind of icbm that they launched twice in the month of july, most recently at the end of july. also the kind of war head that could potentially fit on their intermediate-range ballistic missile, that's the hwasong-12 they launched this week on tuesday in north korea. so essentially what north korea is saying now is that they have completed their development of the kind of war head that could fit internally into an icbm. they had a successful test, a very powerful test clearly because of the size of the explosion that was created. i did not catch north korea giving us the magnitude of the event or the actual size of the explosion. that may be something their scientists are still calculating, but north korea is expected to come out perhaps with a more detailed scientific analysis of just how large the explosion that was created by this war head that they
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detonated underground. reiterating there was no radiation released, no negative impact on the environment, but we know that will not be enough justification for other countries, enough assurance for other countries. we know they deployed sniffer planes from here in gentlemjapa they're trying to defect if radiation has been released in the environment. that was delivered by north korea's lead anchor, the face of all major announcements in the country. they sent a congratulatory message from trulyihe ruling wo party. there we have it, officially confirmed by the north koreans, their sixth nuclear test, the fourth ordered by north korea's supreme leader kim jong-un, less than a week after they launched their hwasong-12 intermediate range missile over northern
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japan. a clear threat to the global community including the main land united states, isha. >> yes, indeed. thank you. stay with us. let's go to our chief international correspondent christiane amanpour. thank you for joining us. it has been confirmed by pyongyang they did indeed conduct their sixth nuclear test, afternoon sunday in pyongyang. your reaction? really, christiane, i guess the essential question is how much does this escalate the crisis with north korea? >> well, isha, it is no doubt going to be another major provocation. the north koreans have been threatening to do precisely this for many months now, and as we've been reporting for many months and years under the regime of kim jong-un they have been improving and strengthening their nuclear capacity. if, indeed, this is a hydrogen bomb that they have tested as the north korean official news
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agency has just announced, that is very significant. a hydrogen bomb, otherwise known as a thermonuclear bomb, is more powerful than atomic or fissions. this is a very, very dangerous weapon. the question is what they plan to do with this, and the question is how much further -- sort of second referencing and second sourcing can we get to find out what exactly has been tested and what exactly their plan is. i can tell you that i have spoken to the diplomats who have met most recently with the north koreans. so this was a non- governmental but very, very high level meeting in europe several months ago between former cia analysts and north korean officials. they have told me and they've told others in the intervening weeks that the essential important issue they feel to understand from north korea and about north korea is that it does not intend to de
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nuclearize. that idea of trying to get them to denuclearize, the north koreans right now have no intention of doing. they want to be taken seriously as a global nuclear power. despite all of the attempts to rein them in, to impose sanctions, despite the attempts by the obama administration to engage in so-called strategic patience, what we've seen over the years is north korea simply moving ahead and perfecting slowly, slowly, their nuclear capabilities. this being a sixth test is very, very dramatic. if, indeed, that magnitude as it has been calculated of the so-called earthquake is ten times more than the previous one, this all points in one direction. so the question now is what are the options for the united states, for the countries in the region, whether it is china, whether it is japan, whether it is south korea, is north korea going to be brought to the table or is there going to be a much
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more dangerous confrontation ahead. >> christiane, to that point of potentially more dangerous confrontation ahead, it was noteworthy that north korea in the statement that they released some hours ago about their having mastered hydrogen bomb technology that they talked about all of the components being made domestically. that basically they didn't need to go outside, they could do this all on their own now. you have been inside a north korean nuclear facility. you are the only person from this network to have done so. just give us some perspective on just how quickly they've been able to accelerate their program. >> well, that is absolutely -- there's no question about it. they've been able to accelerate their program while being under, you know, heavy sanctions from the rest of the world. i went in with two other reporters from other agencies
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about seven or so years ago. it was in 2008, at a time when it looked like there was some kind of a possibility of a breakthrough in diplomatic negotiations between the united states, other powers and north korea. this was under the regime of the current leader's father, kim jong-il. and if you remember, there was cultural diplomacy, the new york philharmonic orchestra went over, played with the north korean orchestra to a north korean audience. there was a moment where it looked like there might be a breakthrough, and, indeed, that visit and negotiations around it led to a very visible halt in their nuclear program. this, of course, was a plutonium nuclear program, it wasn't the uranium nuclear program. we went into the reactor. we saw them literally moth ball it. we saw them taking apart very, very important components, literally saran wrap them, put them away from any kind of
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ability to use them. we watched them from a certain distance actually blow up the identifying cooling tower of the nuclear reactor there at yongbyon, outside of pyongyang, the capital. for a moment it looked like there was a possibility there could be a halt or at least a stop to this program. and then it didn't work and kim jong-il died and kim -- the current leader, kim jong-un, succeeded him, and it has been confrontational ever since. what they want, we have been told now by the only diplomats, only officials from the united states that have actually met, seen the north korean diplomats and officials, is that they want to be taken seriously as a nuclear power. i think you just have to look at, for instance, iran which is not a nuclear weapons power, however, was able to develop its
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nuclear program under sanctions. so the idea that these countries can actually perfect engineering and this kind of technology themselves despite some of the heaviest sanctions in the world is something that, you know, the world sort of needs to pay attention to. now we need to know which way diplomats, analysts, officials, governments, what they're going to do to deal with this. some analysts right now are saying this may not be a game changer. we'll see what happens. but it is clearly everything points to north korea moving in one inexorable direction, and that is to perfect its nuclear technology and become a weapons power. >> much of the world will be looking at what the united states says and does next. president trump, as you well know, christiane, some weeks ago threatened fire and fury if north korea continued down this path of provocations,
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provocative actions and state's. they have now done this. they have now launched their sixth nuclear test. but also, christiane, you know when it comes to dealing with north korea there are no good options. so what are your expectations from the trump administration in terms of the next move? >> well, there has to be a strategic regrouping to decide what to do with the real situation. i mean let's sort of trace it back from the clinton administration of the 1990s, bill clinton's administration. there was value in talking to north korea, which the clinton administration did, and they achieved a certain agreement. there was value when the bush administration did some talking, even though the early years of the bush administration -- the george w. bush administration, actually set this process in motion. because by ditching the policy of engagement with north korea
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and between north and south korea irritated and angered kim jong-il, who then pulled out of the nuclear non- proliferation treaty, kicked out the iaea inspectors. therefore, north korea was allowed and able to continue moving ahead with its program without the eyes of the world on it. that is when it started to make its leaps and bounds. then, as i said, in 2008 there was a sort of, you know, sort of a stepping back a little bit from the brink with the agreement to stop its pyongyang -- sorry, it's yongbyon plutonium reactor. now under the latest president, under kim jong-un, under the obama administration, there was no talking, and that so-called strategic patience, you know, basically watched as north korea raced ahead with its program. so, yes, now the question is what is this administration going to do. so, all of those things i've
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just laid out basically amounts to an american policy, as some analysts called it, all over the map over the last two decades. therefore, at this very, very important and critical moment there has to be a strategic reassessment of how they're going . i mean, in the past, obviously, the united states had a cold war mutually assured destruction with the soviet union as it was then. we're going to have to wait and see what they decide to do. but confrontation is, in terms of a military confrontation we've heard from all our cnn military able sis analysts and , many experts that any kind of military action in this regard would immediately cause -- i
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mean, the kind of horrendous casualties that one doesn't want to talk about on an open line almost. even if it was conventional it would risk so many hundreds of thousands of people in south korea, in japan, including u.s. personnel, u.s. officials and others. so it's a very, very tricky situation and one that's going to require incredible calm heads and expertise. >> we are thankful for your expertise and thank you for joining us on the line from london. thank you. christiane. let bring in colonel francona who has been with us almost three hours now. i thank you. i am grateful. i just want to pick up on the statement that was just made on north korean state television. they have confirmed the north
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koreans saying they successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. as we have, you know, suspected and has been confirmed prior to the north korean statement. where are we at now? the fact of the matter is, whether or not it was successful. they say it was successful. we know every time that north korea carries out these tests, ballistic missile or nuclear tests they learn something more and their programs jump further ahead. >> yeah, and i think one of the keynotes in that announcement is they are talking about the miniaturized warhead. that's what they need to make to this intercontinental ballistic missile. they are not there but they are much closer than they were some time ago. if what we saw today is to be believed if that device is a hydrogen bomb being put into a
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warhead to fit on an icbm, if that is, in fact, true, as christiane said, we are out of time. we have to deal with the reality that in very short order the north koreans will have a deliverable nuclear weapon that can reach the united states. i was not surprised by this announcement. they've been working toward this all along. it's miniaturization that is becoming the issue and they seemed to have mastered that. they talked about that a few weeks ago and have shown it to us today. >> yeah, as the world braces for the global reaction, i mean, we find ourselves at a very difficult moment because the fact of the matter is you are dealing with a regime that is paranoid, that is slightest wrong word or move could trigger an action of immeasurable consequence. this is a very, very dangerous
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moment we find ourselves at. >> it gets, you know, the closer they get to this capability the more dangerous it becomes. and as we go back to what is going to be the regional and global reaction what is the united states going to do? what's japan going to do, what's korean going to do? how are they going to deal with this new reality? and i don't think the kim jong-un regime is irrational. they know what they are doing. they are trying to develop a deterrent, not a first-strike capability. i think there's opportunity here to address this. i don't think we should believe that the sky is falling that that we're going to war any time soon. i think we're -- but we are getting closer to the time when we're going to have to address this head on. >> yeah. i think those are very important words of caution and putting things in perspective there. the sky is not falling at this
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moment. it is just a moment we all must take note of. colonel francona, thank you for being with me these three hours. your insight has been invaluable. if you are just joining us, north korea confirmed they did indeed a launch a sixth nuclear test. it measured some 6.3 -- that has been confirmed by the usgs. this is their sixth nuclear test, measurably larger than the last one that took place in 2016 and was 5.3. north korea saying this was a hydrogen bomb that was tested that was successfully done. that of course, outside parties have not confirmed yet. still waiting for the u.s. and south korea to confirm that this indeed took place but north korea a short time ago on state-run television did make a statement they did successfully
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test a hydrogen bomb. a moment of great pride for that nation. kim jong-un having escalated the nuclear program and the ballistic missile program for that matter, since he came to power and now the question is how will the world react? how will the u.s. react. all eyes now on president trump and what he will do. let's face it, this nuclear test in north korea is the latest in an escalating back and forth between president donald trump and the north korean leader. here's what president trump said just a few weeks ago. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. he has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement. and as i said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly,
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power, the likes of which this world has never seen before. >> unambiguous wards. he was criticized for the rhetoric but he was not backing down. take a listen to what he said two weeks later. >> you see what's going on in north korea. all of a sudden -- i don't know -- who knows. but i can tell you what i said, that's not strong enough. some people said it's too strong, it's not strong enough. but, kim jong-un, i respect the fact that i believe he is starting to respect us. >> he is starting to respect us. that is what the president felt but barely one week later on august 29th, north korea responded by firing off another missile. this time over key u.s. ally,
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japan. mr. trump says the u.s. has been talking to north korea and paying them extortion money for 25 years. talking is not the answer. the president seeming to rule out the efficacy of diplomacy even though others in his administration pushed back and said diplomacy still has a place, let's bring in boris sanchez. he joins me now from washington. boris, this is a moment that everyone will be looking at president trump to see what he will do especially in light of the comments he's made over the past couple of weeks most recently saying, you know, north korea now respects the u.s. >> absolutely, isha. he's also said all options are on the table when it comes to responding north korea. this latest test, this sixth nuclear test by north korea follows what we've seen has become a series of escalations,
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back and forth escalation between the kim jong-un regime and donald trump responding. just last week there was that missile launch that flew over japan. the president again declaring all options on the table saying that american forces were locked and loaded and ready to respond to these rprovocations. despite that some in his cabinet including james mattis has said that diplomacy is still in play trying to play up the angle that diplomacy is an option that the united states is weighing, rex tillerson, the secretary of state has done the same. there was a brief period before that launch over japan where tensions had seemed to slow down. there was a bit of a calming after north korea threatened guam, the u.s. territory in the pacific, and there was, again, as you heard the president say,
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he believed that kim jong-un respected the united states after he said that any provocation, any threat from north korea on the u.s. would lead to the kind of fire and fury like the world had never seen before. this is something that clearly has been on the president's mind. just yesterday he was on the phone with japanese prime minister shinzo abe discussing options in north korea. the day before, on friday, he had been speaking to president moon of south korea as well. this is likely to be the biggest foreign policy challenge for this president in the coming months. clearly, north korea is not backing down. the question now is how will the white house respond? we've seen one response from the cabinet trying to focus on diplomacy. and -- >> boris. >> -- robust in his rhetoric, isha. >> he has and we wait to see


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